thoughts on a new coffee bar and venue in downtown roseburg, oregon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

from Cool Town Studios - importance of local businesses

Entrepreneurs, newer companies leading economic growth

What's leading economic growth in our cities?

Robert Litan, VP of Research and Policy at the Kaufmann Foundation* and director of Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution**, concludes that more of our growth today is generated by entrepreneurial or newer companies. He answers the following question in this interview from Smart City Radio:

Smart City Radio: "If you were advising a local urban leader on how he or she could encourage the start up of businesses that would have a good chance of expansion, what would you tell them to do."

Robert: "I'm going to give them advice that a lot of them may not want to hear, but through a lot of research here at Kaufmann, we think the most effective use of local dollars to encourage the growth of local business, is to do the basics right. If you can get crime down, if you can solve your local infrastructure problems, if you can have decent schools, nice parks and amenities, what that'll do is either attract or retain the 24-34 year old age group that are college-educated. That is the cohort that is most likely to lead to your future success. That's the cohort that's most likely to lead your future businesses. If you can attract and retain those people, that is the best indicator of whether or not you'll be entrepreneurially successful."

*The vision of the Kauffman Foundation is to foster a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities, thus focusing on two areas: advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth. **Brookings is a leading research institution influencing urban policy.

Image source: Rob Millenaar.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The 'creative treehouse'

If you're looking for an affordable, creative place to work or hang out, you're in luck if you live in Pittsburgh, or more precisely, Bellevue, Pennsylvania, 4.5 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. That's where you'll find the Creative Treehouse; a 7500 s.f. arts-oriented coworking space. The key ingredients? An inexpensive lease in a developing neighborhood.

The membership-structured (starting at a mere $25/month) space features:
- A creative service center that will allow businesses to network with member artists (the coffeehouse/coworking scene, as pictured);
- Multi-purpose facility for public art displays, gatherings and even live music (essentially a large open room);
- Photography studio with darkroom;

Also, members are allowed to:
- Organize events;
- Host and attend workshops and classes;
- Be included in group showings,
- Update their online profile accessible to businesses and other members.

Events include 24-Hour Creative Marathons (e.g. publish a comic book), NY-style dance parties, and collaborative world happenings like the May 10, 2008 Pangea Day where 24 user-created films are shown simultaneously around the globe.

Open since June 30, 2007, the Creative TreeHouse has plans to expand to other cities (undetermined) in the future, which is expected since it fits the MySpace-oriented viral loop model of customer-motivated replication. As owner Jesse Hambley puts it, who founded the Treehouse as a 23 year-old independent photographer, designer and video editor, "It's like MySpace in a building."

Thanks to Christian MacAuley of Fab Apps for the reference!